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Mathilde gets a taste of South African girl power


March 19, 2006
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Belgium's Crown Princess Mathilde met up with some of the dedicated campaigners who are building a brighter future for South African women at the weekend. The popular royal, who is a well-known champion of gender equality, joined forces with President Mbeki's wife Zanele to show her support for a programme that is giving a voice to the country's long-suffering female population.

Mathilde has been visiting the country with her husband, Crown Prince Philippe, in an effort to boost bilateral relations. The royal was also keen to see the work of the South African Women In Dialogue Forum, however. Levels of domestic violence are extremely high in the sun-drenched nation and the princess believes female empowerment is vital for its future development.

It's been a busy week for the European visitors, with Philippe leading a delegation of trade leaders and executives from his home country who are seeking investment opportunities. He and his wife also took time to visit the nation's legendary anti-apartheid leaders, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former president Nelson Mandela.

But despite their hectic schedule, Mathilde still managed to look every inch the aristocratic lady when she arrived for a gala dinner in Johannesburg dressed in an elegant white chiffon gown.

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Photo: © Alphapress.com
The royal visitor soon found out that exchanging ideas isn't the only thing SAWID workers enjoy, as this impromptu display of dancing skills showsPhoto: © Rexy
Photo: © Alphapress.com
Mathilde was clearly enjoying the opportunity to chat with those involved in the South Africa Women In Dialogue projectPhoto: © Rex

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